Since nothing could change without some kind of movement, and time would not be perceivable without some kind of change, why isn't time fundamentally motion. Likewise, since space would not be perceivable without some sort of motion, why isn't space fundamentally motion as well? In other words, what part of space or time is conceivable without bringing motion into the explanation?

The reasons you gave for thinking that time is fundamentally motion and that space is fundamentally motion seem to depend on this principle: If A isn't perceivable (or isn't explicable ) without some kind of B, then A is fundamentally B. But that principle looks false. Motion isn't perceivable without some kind of perceptual apparatus, but that doesn't imply that motion is fundamentally perceptual apparatus. Motion isn't explicable without some kind of explanation, but that doesn't imply that motion is fundamentally explanation. Furthermore, if time and space are both fundamentally motion, are time and space identical to each other? Even physicists who talk in terms of "spacetime" nevertheless talk about time as a separate dimension of spacetime; I don't think they regard time and space as one and the same. One might also question whether space, or the perception of space, requires motion. When I stare at my index fingers held one inch apart, I perceive them as...

Nowadays, I feel as if right now, in this current world, humans are only wanting to study really hard in school, get a job, and receive money for food and personal items. I feel like there's more to life than that but everybody I ask seems to only want a good job and a lot of money. I am 16 years old and I know that I still have a lot of years to live through but sometimes I feel as if just getting a job and getting money with that job is such a pointless goal. I keep thinking if that is the meaning of life, then that is such an uninteresting goal. But, I still try my best in school and academics because I have this weird, abstract feeling that I absolutely HAVE to or I will fail in life. I do not know the explanation of that feeling but I listen to it. Is just getting a job, doing that job and getting money for it the meaning of the vast majority of this world's people's lives?

Just FYI: The link Prof. Pessin supplied isn't an essay by Thomas Nagel. It appears to be a paper concerning Nagel's work on the meaning of life, a paper written by a student (Lucas Beerekamp) for a course at a university in the Netherlands. Chapter 1o of Nagel's introductory book What Does It All Mean? (1987) is entitled "The Meaning of Life." Perhaps that's what Prof. Pessin meant to refer to (although it's barely seven short pages). More likely he meant to refer to Nagel's famous Journal of Philosophy article, "The Absurd" (1971).

I know that many philosophers might scoff upon being asked some variation of "What is the meaning of life or living" but isn't it about the most relevant question one can ask in relation to philosophy and its relationship with humankind? It seems this is studied very little or at all by philosophers in academia. As a follow-up, do philosophers either in the continental or analytic tradition place any value in the metaphysical writings of yogis or mystics from India; isn't it at least worth investigating?

It would be unbecoming of a philosopher to scoff at the question rather than engage it in some way, and philosophers do engage it. Another book to investigate is the third edition of The Meaning of Life: A Reader , edited by Klemke and Cahn. In his article "The Absurd" (widely anthologized, including in Klemke and Cahn), Nagel makes a tantalizingly brief suggestion that many who seek the meaning of life are seeking something flatly impossible: a life purpose so significant, so clearly ultimate, that it would make no sense to question it. Take happiness, for example. We can't simply define it as "the ultimate goal of life," because that would be a circular definition in this context. So we can question it as a goal: Is it the same as pleasure, or is it more like lasting satisfaction? Is it tied to virtue or not? Whichever answers we give to those questions invite the further sensible question "If that's what happiness is, then why is it the ultimate goal?" In this short magazine...

If I "zoom out" for a moment, then any deliberations I'm making (well, really any thoughts at all that I'm having) seem like part of a process to which I am just an observer. It is certainly true that these processes are occurring in MY brain, which is part of MY body, however thoughts either come to mind or they don't. I can't help but feel as if the only me that really exists is simply a collection of concurrent processes that, via consciousness, are at times able to observe themselves occurring. And furthermore, given what we know about the fallibility of memory and yet also memory's crucial role in the development of character/personality/identity, etc., I can't also help but feel that what I am is the product of a lengthly string of inaccuracies. Pardon the confused language. It's quite difficult to speak about these matters without necessarily recurring to the very terms and concepts that are in question. What I'd like to know is how I can continue to think about these issues without becoming...

David Hume (1711-1776) famously sought to escape skeptical doubts of the sort you describe by distracting himself from them: "I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any farther" ( Treatise 1.4.7). But I don't think you have to seek distraction. My advice is to consider carefully (1) what it is you took yourself to be before you began "zooming out" and (2) whether the observations you make after zooming out really do cast doubt on (1). I think careful consideration of (1) and (2) may lead you to regard those observations as less threatening to (1) than they now seem to you. In your question, you concede that you have a brain and a body. You observe that thoughts often come to you unbidden, but isn't it also true that you sometimes can control, to at least some extent,...

Is existence a property? The way I became confounded was an example like this: a phoenix is a bird, it has feathers, and it is born from ashes, but it does not exist, whereas a penguin is a bird, has feathers, exists, and is born in snow. As in, existence and being born in snow are properties of penguins, but not of phoenixes. I feel there might be some mistake, but I certainly lack the expertise to puzzle through this on my own.

Why not think of it this way? The concept phoenix is the concept of a bird, with feathers, that arises from ashes, etc. The concept penguin is the concept of a bird, with feathers, that's (typically) born in a cold climate, etc. As it happens, the first of those concepts isn't fulfilled: nothing answers to the concept; there are no phoenixes; phoenixes don't exist. As it happens, the second concept is fulfilled: something answers to it; there are penguins; penguins exist. Both concepts exist, but only one of them is fulfilled. Our having the concepts phoenix and penguin doesn't imply that either concept is fulfilled, nor does it imply that there's any sense of 'exist' in which phoenixes (or for that matter penguins) exist.

Look at what I just read in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "2. You could not have been born of different parents. (Someone born of different parents wouldn't be you.) (...) Each of these claims appears to have a true reading." Do you all think this way? A son of my paternal twin-uncle and my maternal twin-aunt could easily (so to say) have exactly the same DNA as I have. He could have been born on the same day. He could have been told that his parents were my actual parents. He could have been given my name. My actual parents could have had no biological child. Things in the whole world could have been exactly as they actually were and are since then. So, in what reasonable sense wouldn't this person be me?

Interesting question. Can't we interpret the story you told as one in which you never exist but someone quite similar to you does instead? Why would such an interpretation be unreasonable? You list six conditions that you seem to regard as jointly sufficient for someone's being you: (1) having exactly your DNA sequence; (2) being born on your birth-date; (3) being told that your parents are his parents; (4) being given your name; (5) your parents' having no biological child; (6) all else being equal. None of those conditions is individually sufficient for someone's being you. (1) Given identical twinning or cloning, someone else (your twin or clone) could have exactly your DNA sequence; (2) plenty of other people share your birth-date; (3) someone else could be told that your parents are his parents (and has been if you have a brother); (4) someone else could (and may actually) share your name; (5) your parents' having no biological child is certainly not sufficient for someone's being you; (6)...

Why would any one think this question is meaningful? (below) Surely morality is only objective when your current language community agree on its precepts; I don't know any atheists that would claim an "objective morality" is a viable claim beyond this, and most lean towards accepting that moral systems are contingent upon cultural norms, as such they are relative. "In conversations with Christians (and members of other religious groups), more often than not I'm asked on what grounds atheism can claim to have an objective morality. This isn't a new question, but it is one I don't feel properly equipped to answer well. I think reason and our intuitions can aid us in finding objective moral truths, but I often find myself at a loss articulating a good defense. I do not find the theist's claim that morality depends on God's existence a good one, but I want to advance a better argument for why secular morality works out, and not just knock down their view. What's the general consensus among philosophers? Is...

Your question concerns Question 4929 , which you quoted. Have a look at the Morriston and Wielenberg articles that I linked to in my answer there. In the case of Wielenberg, you have an atheist who emphatically rejects the idea that "morality is only objective when your current language community agree on its precepts." Another example is Russ Shafer-Landau ( Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? , 2004; Moral Realism: A Defence , 2004). A great many atheist philosophers think that truth in ethics isn't relative to culture or community. It's a topic of much contemporary debate, as you'll see if you search the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy under "moral realism" and "moral anti-realism."

In conversations with Christians (and members of other religious groups), more often than not I'm asked on what grounds atheism can claim to have an objective morality. This isn't a new question, but it is one I don't feel properly equipped to answer well. I think reason and our intuitions can aid us in finding objective moral truths, but I often find myself at a loss articulating a good defense. I do not find the theist's claim that morality depends on God's existence a good one, but I want to advance a better argument for why secular morality works out, and not just knock down their view. What's the general consensus among philosophers? Is there a firm foundation for morality without God?

The literature on this topic is huge. Much of the work in theoretical ethics and metaethics in the last 200 years has been an attempt to provide a non-theistic foundation for morality, whether a foundation within ethics or a foundation outside ethics. If you look under "ethics," "metaethics," and "moral" in the table of contents of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (linked in the right sidebar of this site), you'll find dozens of entries that give non-theistic treatments of ethics and ethical issues. Two good recent journal articles on the non-theistic grounding of ethics are this one by Wes Morriston and this one by Erik Wielenberg . You might also find this forthcoming paper of mine to be relevant. Best of luck in your research!

Is there a way to prove that logic works? It seems that the only two methods for doing this would be to use a logical proof –which would be incorporating an assumed answer into the question– or to use some system other than logic –thus proving that sometimes logic does not work.

Even asking "Is there a way to prove that logic works?" presupposes that logic does work at least at the level of its most basic laws, such as the Law of Noncontradiction, because the question itself has meaning only if the most basic laws of logic hold. To put it a bit differently: No sense at all can be attached to the notion that logic doesn't work (or even sometimes doesn't work). See also my reply to Question 4837 and Question 4884 . So we have what philosophers call a "transcendental" proof of the reliability of logic: If we can so much as ask whether logic is reliable (provably or otherwise), then it follows that the answer to our question is yes . You might say that this proof won't impress someone who doubts the most basic laws of logic in the first place. But I'd reply -- predictably -- that no sense can be attached to the notion of doubting the most basic laws of logic.

Is Kant's project of reconciling freedom with an apparently deterministic nature still relevant given how Quantum mechanics does not (as I understand it) see nature as a deterministic totality?

In my opinion, it's no harder to reconcile freedom (free choice, responsible action) with determinism than to reconcile it with indeterminism. On the contrary, it may be easier; see, for example, this SEP entry . According to compatibilists, we can act freely even if determinism should turn out to be true and hence even if the indeterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics should turn out to be false. But no one thinks that the truth of indeterminism (whether quantum indeterminism or some other kind) by itself would suffice to give us freedom. The debate is about whether indeterminism is necessary for freedom. In my view, incompatibilists bear the burden of showing that it is and have failed to discharge that burden.

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